The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that an additional $179 million will go to the state of California to improve and expand current railway projects. We recently reported that the state has signed an agreement to reduce the environmental impact of some proposed plans after some concerns were raised by federal agencies.
A large chunk of the money, approximately $86 million, will go toward the Central Valley high speed rail program to extend the tracks roughly 20 miles into the towns of Bakersfield and Merced. The DOT says this segment of the line will be an important piece of the proposed 220 mile per hour trail route from Los Angeles to the Bay Area, which could take passengers from one city to the other in under two hours.
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will receive $68 million, in addition to the $100 previously awarded, to improve innercity routes and purchase six locomotives along with forty passenger cars. Caltrans is also getting nearly $30 million to install safety and monitoring systems for trains between San Diego and San Onofre, just north of the city.
The DOT says thirty-two states are in the process of developing high speed rail projects, including Nevada, which we noted claims to being one step closer to building a system that would connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The total national expenditure on rail has been $6 billion according to the government, but over $10 billion has been allocated. At this point, it seems that California will be the first to begin operations of high speed rail if all goes according to plan.